Technology has a way to infiltrating almost everything in today’s modern world. While sometimes frustrating, the truth is that companies who fail maintain a finger on the pulse of technology trends end up losing out in the long-run. The accounting industry, while always remaining true to its roots, inevitably falls into the same trap. Many seasoned CPAs push back against changes in technology, as growing accustom to a particular way of conducting business is comfortable and familiar. Nevertheless, accountants must take a step back and recognize that using technology to your advantage makes accounting work smarter, faster, and often more cost-effective.
With all of the advancements in accounting software, it can be difficult to determine fading fades versus revolutionary trends. As such, we have put together short list of some of the most critical technology trends in the accounting industry today:
- Blockchain Technology: While the terminology confuses many, blockchain technology refers to the centralization of data that improves database architecture tremendously. Taking advantage of the modern sciences of encryption, database retention is improved as entities can share a common infrastructure. This change in technology will remove the need for companies to continually reconcile records, as simultaneous work from both sides of a transaction can be in a shared ledger, making the process seamless and reliable.
- Cloud Computing: For CPAs, the migration to the cloud has been rather slow. Cloud-based applications are still foreign to many accountants and it’s no surprise that transferring information to the cloud has been met with hesitation. We project a continual, yet slow growth to remain, as accounting software has still lacked in a lot of areas and thus justifies the sluggish adoption. As technologies continue to emerge, more and more accounting firms will depend solely on cloud-based software.
- Customization: As with almost every other aspect of our lives, the demand for personalization is imminent. Standard client services will continue to phase out while customized offerings replace them. The ability to offer personalized, detailed analysis and customizable accounting services will only expand as technology lays the foundation for this trend.
- Optical Character Recognition (OCR): This technology is bound to peak its head into the accounting industry, and has done so already in some cases. Accountants can finally say goodbye to hand-entered receipts and say hello to an online accounting platform that allows clients to simply upload documents. Pulling relevant data and text from these sources will continue to reduce workloads significantly.
- Automation: Artificial intelligence is no longer a thought of the future. Taking complex sets of data, automation allows for the generation of this information to be analyzed quickly and efficiently. Things like auditing can be automated, thus removing the common inefficiencies linked to gathering auditing evidence.
Accountants have a bad reputation for being old-school. In 2017 and beyond, it will be critical to not only accept these new technology trends, but to adopt them into the work routine. What trends do you foresee becoming accounting staples? Leave a comment below and share with us!